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Himalaya

Day 53: to Annapurna Base Camp

Michael Palin - HimalayaSo it is a tired but unrecognizably happier band that pulls itself up the last, agonizingly long and steep flight of steps to Annapurna Base Camp.

Appropriately enough for Annapurna, the Hindu goddess of fertility, a dal baht lunch is waiting, and on the sun-filled terrace I can sit and enjoy a combination of relief and release. For the time being, at least, I don't need to go any higher.

There's quite a crowd of trekkers already at the camp and, with a captive audience, Wongchu is in his element. Like many climbers I know, he has an inexhaustible supply of disaster stories. He points out a small Buddhist shrine just outside the camp, which marks the spot where Anatoly Boukreev, a Russian climber, was killed by an avalanche. Annapurna I has taken the lives of some 15 people. Some, he adds mysteriously, have died because they offended the mountain gods.

'By eating meat?'

'Eating meat, yes. But also having sex.'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 53: to Annapurna Base Camp
  • Country/sea: Nepal
  • Place: Annapurna Base Camp
  • Book page no: 122

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